What are the best official size footballs?
Football is one of the most popular American sports and is played by children as young as 5 through pee wee leagues, high school, and college athletes.
Whether you’re shopping for footballs for youth or high school players, there are quite a few considerations to make.
In this article, we’re highlighting the best official size footballs for players of all skill levels.
The 10 Best Official Size Footballs
We develop our football-related product lists by finding the best-reviewed products that football players and fans love and swear by.
For the best official size footballs, we considered the brand, material and lace quality, and user reviews.
We strive to provide accurate and detailed information so you can make an informed decision.
Here’s our list of the 10 best official size footballs:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
10. Franklin Sports Junior Size Official Football
Throw a perfect spiral every time with the Franklin Sports Junior Size official football.
Designed to stand up to regular wear and tear, this junior football features excellent grip technology, synthetic laces for easy holding, and perfect construction.
The hand-sewn laces offer extra traction for players just learning to throw and catch. Develop ball control skills with training footballs from Franklin Sports.
- Double-tuck synthetic laces
- Precision-stitched construction for balance
- Designed for effective grip
- Made from synthetic leather
- All-weather material
- Many reviewers claim that this football is slippery
Pee-wee footballs made from synthetic leather are a great choice for kids just learning to play.
From practice to throwing and passing drills, junior footballs are designed to be easier for smaller hands to carry and run the ball.
Franklin Sports excels at offering soft, easy-to-grip footballs that are designed for young players. Help your athlete build confidence and learn new skills with this Franklin football.
9. Passback Junior Composite Official Football
Teach young players to throw like champion quarterbacks with the Passback Junior Composite official football.
Players can improve passing accuracy, velocity, and distance on a hard surface with a passback football that comes right back.
Practice alone against a wall by simply throwing the ball and waiting for it to come back. Players can perfect their spiral and work on their stance and form.
For an innovative option to improve your passing abilities, the Passback Junior composite leather football is a must-have for football gear.
- Designed for all skill levels, from beginners to the pros
- Great for quarterbacks and receivers to develop their accuracy
- Receivers can benefit from improved reaction time and agility
- No rebounder nets or throwing machines required
- Pump not included
- Some reviewers say it struggles to stay inflated
Quarterbacks and receivers alike will improve hand-eye coordination, improve upper-body strength, endurance, and ball control during training sessions.
If there’s one ball a quarterback-in-training needs to perfect their spiral and accuracy, it’s this one. Soft on the hands and easy to throw, it’s a great choice for youth players.
Get ready for the big game with the perfect football for throwing and catching practice.
8. Rawlings NFL Game Time Official Football
Practice your playing skills with this full-size official game ball by Rawlings.
Whether you’re a ball collector or a player, Game Time official football offers excellent grip and sturdy football materials to last through many games.
For display purposes or for recreational play, the official ball of the NFL is a great ball to have on hand to impress guests and friends.
It looks great on a stand in the office or soaring down the field for the game-winning catch. The choice is yours!
- Synthetic pebbled material for enhanced grip
- Composite soft-touch for an authentic leather feel
- Officially licensed by the NFL
- Comes with a kicking tee to practice kicking field goals
- Weather-resistant materials
- Not the most durable option for regular play
For a larger football to play with or display in your home, the Rawlings Game Time official football is a solid choice.
At a great price point, you won’t regret this football for casual games and tossing around with friends.
Rawlings continues to be the crème de la crème of football gear, and this is one of the best footballs on the market. Feel prepared for any big game with the Rawlings ball.
7. Nightmatch Light Up LED Official Football
Have a blast tossing this glow-in-the-dark football around with teammates, friends, or family all day and night.
This glowing football lights up for 30 seconds at a time, allowing for lots of fun after the sun goes down.
Enjoy watching the brightly colored ball soar through the sky as you practice your throwing and catching skills.
Once the ball hits the ground, it’ll light up and begin glowing within 30 seconds. Get ready to have a ball all night long!
- Waterproof glow for fun all night
- 2 durable layers of foam
- High visibility through LED
- Includes extra accessories like batteries and a pump
- Official American football size
- Visible from long distances
- The battery has fallen out for many users
- Expensive price point
A great training ball for night practices and fun for the whole family, the Nightmatch LED football is great to have around.
With an automatic shut-off and easy-to-use features, you’ll love having this junior football in your gear bag.
It’s one of the best footballs for casual play and will keep your team entertained on and off the field. Store it in your garage or home gym and bust it out whenever you want.
6. Nike Vapor 24/7 Official Football
From flag football to practice games, the Nike Vapor Official Football is one of the best game footballs money can buy.
While most footballs cost much more, the Nike Vapor composite football is a budget-friendly option that is incredibly durable.
No wonder it’s such a popular ball for all skill levels!
From the best cross-training shoes to all kinds of football gear, Nike offers top-quality sports equipment, and this football is no exception.
- Made from synthetic leather for better control
- Engineered shape for tight spirals
- Extruded lace system for better grip
- Soft but durable laces
- Ideal for kids over 13
- Slippery grip
Undoubtedly, one of the best footballs on the market is the Nike Vapor.
If you’re looking for a recreational football for casual games and training sessions, this Nike ball is a great choice for kids and adults alike.
Enjoy better ball handling and control with the Vapor football, and perfect your form and throwing abilities.
5. Wilson NCAA Composite Official Football
For a fantastic composite football, the Wilson NCAA is a great choice for playing football with a team or friends.
The NCAA official footballs are designed to be used for practice, flag football leagues, and training for all positions.
Enjoy a tight grip on this NCAA football as you practice agility and speed drills, throwing practice, and much more.
- NCAA official football
- Durable composite leather cover
- Enhanced lining for all-weather performance
- Butyl rubber bladder provides long-term air retention
- Issues with the air valve to pump up the ball
For a solid grip and a great size, Wilson composite footballs are a must-have. Enjoy long-term use without having to pump this football up repeatedly.
While the best grip exercises can improve accuracy and form, the football’s laces make a big difference as well.
Run drills, practice throwing and catching, and have a ball with one of the top footballs money can buy.
Wilson is a revered name in football gear, and this ball is no exception. Future quarterbacks and receivers alike will majorly benefit from having this ball in their repertoire.
4. Wilson NFL MVP Official Football
The Wilson NFL MVP Official size football offers a good grip for youth players who are learning to throw and catch.
Where cheaper balls may fall short in terms of quality and grip, the Wilson official football checks every box and meets our high standards of construction and design.
The super grip cover offers durability and a premium feel. The MVP official football is the real deal in terms of quality and price.
- Tacky material for enhanced grip
- Synthetic cover ready for play
- Super grip designed for training
- Great price point
- Comes with a stand
- Some reviewers say the football is too slick
Youth footballs are a great way for kids and teens to practice during the off-season and at home.
This Wilson ball maintains air retention and is the perfect football for smaller hands learning to throw and catch.
Using this ball, players will gain accuracy and learn to throw perfect spirals every time.
3. Wilson NFL Super Grip Official Football
Help your young football player develop their skills with one of the best synthetic footballs by Wilson.
Ideal for high school football players, this ball has pebbled laces and offers extra grip for smaller hands.
Perfect for throwing around at practice or in the neighborhood, this Wilson official football is a high-quality option that will last for years.
- Affordable price tag
- Composite leather
- NFL-branded official size football
- Premium feel and a super grip
- Butyl rubber bladder provides advanced air retention
- Recommended for players 14 and up
- Some reviewers say it doesn’t maintain air properly
If this is your youth player’s first ball, Wilson is a great brand to go with.
From pee-wee to youth players, Wilson footballs have great air pressure, super grip, and just the right amount of tack to throw and catch with ease.
From playing in the backyard to using them as training balls, Wilson checks every box.
2. Wilson K2 American Official Football
The Wilson American football is designed for kids under 8 in pee wee and youth leagues that are just learning how to play.
For recreational or casual play, the Wilson K2 official football is a top choice for young players to develop their skills, like passing, throwing, and catching.
Wilson balls are easy to grip, throw and catch for skill drills and tactical movements.
- Dimensional stability and endurance
- Easy and fast inflation
- Made of K2 composite leather
- Great grip in all weather conditions
- Expensive price point
- The ball pump is not included
Help young players learn to throw, build upper arm strength, and develop tactical skills on the field.
From flag football to tossing around in the backyard, Wilson offers many great footballs for youth players.
With easy-to-grip composite leather and thick laces, players will gain confidence to throw this training football with ease.
1. Wilson GST Leather Game Official Football
Improve your grip and throw by 82 percent with the Wilson GST leather game football.
Collegiate game balls have to meet certain standards, and the Wilson GST college football does just that.
With thoughtful design features, like its light leather formula and a sewn-on stripe, players will find great success on the field and in practice.
Wilson’s development of official footballs is why they are the number one brand on this list, and for good reason.
Official balls for college games have to meet certain quality standards, and that’s why Wilson remains one of the best American footballs in the game.
- Leather game football
- The light leather formula is super soft and easy to grip
- Sewn on stripe made from composite material
- Accurate Control Lacing (ACL) offers a pebbled grip
- NCAA and NFHS approved
- Expensive price point
For unmatched quality craftsmanship and a new visual design, look no further than Wilson GST leather footballs.
High performing and easier to control, Wilson footballs are handcrafted in the US by the same people who make NFL footballs.
FAQs About American Footballs
To find the best football to meet your needs and skill levels, there are a few things you need to know first. Get all your questions answered about American footballs in this section.
Q: What footballs do NFL players use?
In the NFL (National Football League), teams practice and play with a Wilson football, nicknamed The Duke, for over 80 years.
Since the NFL’s inception in 1941, Wilson has been the league’s go-to partner for all things football gear.
Made from genuine cowhide leather, The Duke is manufactured in Wilson’s factory in Ada, Ohio, and takes nearly two dozen craftsmen to perfect.
The NFL has high standards for its footballs, and that’s why they continue to partner with Wilson to create the perfect football.
Q: Is American football an expensive sport?
Not only is American football an expensive sport, but it’s also on our list of the 20 most dangerous sports in the world.
Parents and caretakers of youth football players will likely agree that joining a football team is not easy on the wallet.
All the protective gear, like helmets, pads, uniforms, and cleats, to the travel required for games and training, can add up fast.
For kids with raw talent, though, the investment is worth it.
Many youth players go on to play in high school and may even get scholarships to college playing football, and even fewer players are recruited to the NFL.
Q: How heavy is an American football?
Official footballs used by the NFL are 11 to 11.25 inches long and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces when properly inflated.
Youth footballs weigh around 12.5 ounces, and high school footballs are traditionally slightly heavier and longer for bigger players.
Q: What are American football balls made of?
American footballs are usually made from genuine cowhide leather or rubber and then covered in a leather shell.
While many think that footballs are made from pigskin, this is actually untrue. Early footballs were made of pig bladders, but that hasn’t been the case for years.
In the 1800s, manufacturers began making footballs out of rubber, with leather materials coming in a few years later.
Q: How big is a full size American football?
Competitive pro footballs used in the NFL are 11 to 11.25 inches long.
American footballs have a circumference of approximately 28 inches on the long side and 21 inches on the short side of the ball.
The best footballs support players of all skill levels as they develop their throwing and catching skills during practice and in games.
Youth, high school, and collegiate players alike need high-quality footballs for skill development, ball handling, and confidence-building on the field.
Whether you’re searching for a rubber or leather football, keep quality and durability in mind as you shop for the best football.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best official size footballs:
- Wilson GST Leather Game Official Football
- Wilson K2 American Official Football
- Wilson NFL Super Grip Official Football
- Wilson NFL MVP Official Football
- Wilson NCAA Composite Official Football
- Nike Vapor 24/7 Official Football
- Nightmatch Light Up LED Official Football
- Rawlings NFL Game Time Official Football
- Passback Junior Composite Official Football
- Franklin Sports Junior Size Official Football